Tuesday, February 23, 2010
There are a lot of "oughts" in my brain just now.
There are words strung out in phrases, slipping "shoulds" and "need tos" and "haven'ts" and "didn'ts" mingling into restless, accusing syntax to bypass the grace I know with the other things.
The "you're not enough." The "you can't." The long lecture about standing too firm, too proud, the castigation for my humanity, the convenient oversight of the dirt and grime and splattering red of the Cross.
So many are giving so much up for Lent. So many care here and give there. So many pursue this or that with passion and drive that seems untouched by the weights I am wishing to throw aside. Weights that I am not even certain I may throw aside.
I try to live. I'm trying to gain my balance here. But I am an all or nothing person, and it seems I am wading through some quagmire in a valley of decision. Decision that has no clear direction. "Give something up." "Do more here." "Let's not do this." "I need to try that."
The voices are loud and insistent. They are not God's, I think. They drive me away from still.
I am not one to give much credence to spiritual attack. I generally try to ignore it, continue on my way, keeping my eyes away from it. But I'm living in a thin place right now. The photo above tells more than I wish to tell, yet it says so much that I have to say, that I can't admit, that I must admit or disappear.
There are places in me I dare not go without my strong God. There are cracks in my armor - not my Christ-armor - my own protective walls, the ones that must come crashing down in me before He will have all of me, before it will be all joy to embrace Him as my very great reward.
Fear has footholds in me yet; he drives me inward, makes me cower, curl into myself, poking and prodding until I lash out with the only defense the attack has left available to me - anger. Fury.
Where is your grace now? The voices taunt, and I try not to fall, hold back my tears, for I cannot be broken, they cannot break me.
I look for Jesus. This is my year of dust. Of looking at mine, of seeking His, for He became dust too. His wilderness was forty days long. Israel wandered forty years. How long is my own to last?
Why, oh why do I fight for this freedom?
I am being pressed. I am perplexed. I am persecuted. Yet I am not crushed. I do not despair. I am not alone.
How can I know these things and still struggle so within myself?
"It is your own fault." The hissing prods me, bidding vague decision. "You could end this. Just choose what you know is right!"
But right is not something I know so very well anymore. Right and Life are far from each other at times, when Christ is my life and right blocks my view of Him.
It seems the very air I breathe is murky. The light is shadowed.
Too often, I have surrounded myself with people, with voices that tell me the right. Too often I take their word instead of His, and even the good causes me to stumble. I am so weak; I cannot be strong like some. I used to think that I could. I used to think that having the right answer was enough.
Answers are cold. And they are often empty.
Everything inside cries for touch. Not for child-touch, need-touch. God knows I've had too much of that lately. I almost push them away to make room for full-touch, giving-touch.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me.
With rod and staff He offers comfort. I receive it deep. I need both to steady, to guide, to hem me behind and before.
The light pierces now, sun in a baby's eyes as he emerges from the womb. Glorious light.
You have laid Your hand upon me.
It is so warm.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)